Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Study: Smartphones are a Bigger Concern than TV

January 7, 2015


Kids are spending way too much time in front of a screen. In my day the warnings about the dangers of television were very prevalent. Now the smartphone and gaming console seem to have overtaken it on the parental danger list:


Having a smartphone in a child’s bedroom translates to less sleep, more fatigue, and later bedtimes, according to a new study. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that kids who slept in the same room as a cellphone, smartphone or iPod touch — what they call “small screens” — got almost 21 minutes fewer sleep than those who didn’t. They also went to bed, on average, 37 minutes later than those without phones in their rooms. (Those who slept in the same room as a TV, meanwhile, got only 18 minutes fewer sleep; the TVs were also associated with a 31-minute delay in bedtime.)

In the study of more than 2,000 fourth and seventh graders, published Monday, 54 percent said they slept near a smartphone. “Small screens are especially concerning because they are a portal to social media, videos and other distractions, and they emit notifications that can disrupt sleep,” Dr. Jennifer Falbe, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Berkely and the lead author of the study, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Parents should keep screen media out of bedrooms, limit screen time, and set a curfew of an hour before bedtime.” 

Falbe says her recommendations are based on the overall literature that excessive screen media can be harmful to children’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids spend no more than one to two hours a day on recreational screen time, which Falbe says is a good rule of thumb. 


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Anti-Bullying Song Goes Viral

May 16, 2014



I’m not a fan of television talent shows because I find them exploitative and I feel manipulated as a viewer. I also object to the audience reaction shots and backstage interruptions. But having said that, much credit must be given to the young singers above for their stellar performance and for taking the anti-bullying message to millions of people worldwide:


Two teenage boys wowed the Britain’s Got Talent judges with their rendition of Faith Evans and Twista’s “Hope,” changing the rap verses to reflect their feelings about bullying.

The duo — Bars and Melody — delivered an emotional performance that brought audience members to their feet and tears to some of their eyes. The video from last week’s show has since gone viral, attracting nearly 8 million views.

“I like the fact that they wrote their own song based on life experiences,” judge Simon Cowell told ITV on the network’s website after the audition. “People are going to root for them and they’ve got this great friendship that is so obvious when you watch them together.

The judges have moved Bars and Melody into Britain’s Got Talent’s semi-finals.

But the good news doesn’t stop there. It appears Bars and Melody has influenced bullies to apologize to their victims or stop their bullying altogether:



Click on the link to read Some Schools Just Don’t Get it When it Comes to Bullying

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Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

March 23, 2014

game of thrones

Well here is a novel way of getting rowdy students to quieten down:

A maths teacher apparently decided to up the ante by threatening to reveal Game of Thrones spoilers to his misbehaving students.

One day while teaching in a noisy classroom, the educator asked who watched Game of Thrones, to which the majority raised their hands.

‘Well, I’ve read all the books,’ he told them. ‘If there is too much noise, I will write the name of the dead on the board. They are enough to fill the whole year and I can even describe how they die,’ reports

Those troublemakers who took it as an empty threat soon found themselves living to regret it when the teacher proceeded to write the names of those killed off in the third series on the board.

Unsurprisingly, the class got back pretty sharpish to working on long division and the like in silence after that.

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Tips to Help Parents Control Their Kids’ TV Habits

September 17, 2013



One of the most original and innovative ideas my mother had came about when she realised that I was spending far too much time watching TV and the problem required a change of policy in form of a proposal. The proposal was that I could watch 3 episodes a week on a school night as long as it the show had educational merit. So instead of watching a chat show or sitcom, I watched documentaries and current affair programs. I  remember watching shows on criminology, science, politics and history – all of which would have been ignored were it not for the rule. To this day, my TV tastes have been radically altered because of that rule.

Of course not all children would respond to such an arrangement. So courtesy of, here are 12 more tips:

1. Get the TV out of the Bedroom!

Having a TV in the bedroom may keep your kids quiet, but you lose control over what and how much they watch. A recent study found that children who had a TV in their bedroom watched more TV and performed worse in school tests.

If your child already has a TV in their bedroom, you may have a job on your hands to get it out. We recommend that you just remove the TV and explain your reasons to your child. Be prepared for protests, but remember that you are acting in the best interests of your child, and that you are the boss!

2. Don’t have the TV on in the Background

If no-one’s watching it, turn the telly off! TV has an amazing effect on us. We instinctively pay attention to moving images, so when a television is on it is difficult to concentrate on other things. Remember, the “off” button is there for a reason.

3. Don’t Allow Unsupervised Access

Do you really know what the kids are watching? Many studies have shown that children can be exposed to violent and sexual imagery that is inappropriate for their age. Keep track of what your kids are watching, and avoid having loads of TV sets around the house.

4. Agree Programmes

Buy a TV guide, and agree in advance which programmes your children will watch. This won’t take long, and will save your children from hours of zombie-like channel surfing. Most Sunday newspapers have a weekly TV guide included. Set rules for acceptable programmes together, and develop a list of programmes to be watched.

5. Agree TV Time

Agree with your children how much time the family will spend watching TV during the week. Remember to be firm during the negotiations. Your kids need to know that you are the boss – much easier with younger children.

If your children are massive telly addicts, you will need to reduce their screen time gradually. The most important thing for telly addicts is to replace TV time with something else, so you might need to think about active hobbies for your kids.

6. Assess the Situation

Keep a TV log for a week, and work out how much time you and your children spend in front of the box. Just write down the number of hours of TV you’ve watched – you may find this surprising.

7. Record Programmes

Record movies and programmes that you like, and watch them at convenient times. This can help to minimise the effect that TV has on your family’s sleeping and eating patterns.

8. Discuss the Plan

Explain to your children the reason why too much TV is a bad idea, and get their opinions. This is crucial, since you want your children to develop good TV habits that they will take with them into adulthood. Don’t be too dictatorial, and explain your actions. Your children will get into the habit of being discerning viewers.

You’re the boss, and you need to take a lead, but you have to bring your children with you. If your children are very young, this will not be a problem – they will just accept your rules as being normal.

9. Encourage Rebellion!

Your kids are going to rebel against something so why not make this rebellion a positive process? Point out to your child or young adult that the TV keeps them passive and under control. Your children probably won’t like the idea of being passive zombies controlled by others.

10. Cut the Cable…

…or get rid of the dish. Why not get rid of your satellite TV and with the money you save, rent the odd movie that you’re really keen on? You’ll be able to watch your movie at a more convenient time, you won’t be bombarded with adverts, and you will probably save money.

11. TV Dinners

Don’t eat in front of the telly! When you are looking at the box, you find it harder to keep track of how full you are. For this reason people tend to overeat when they are watching television.

When children routinely eat meals in front of the TV they are more likely to become overweight. The odd bit of popcorn during a movie is OK, but in general don’t let your family eat meals in front of the TV.

12. Keep Perspective

You don’t have to ditch the TV completely, although believe it or not some people take this option and live perfectly normal lives. TV isn’t all bad…you can see great movies, there are fantastic educational documentaries, and there are great comedy and entertainment shows. Just make sure that you control the TV, and the TV doesn’t control you!


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4 Signs of a Great Teacher: Dr. Marvin Thompson

February 18, 2013


Courtesy of the star of the new docu-series, ‘Blackboard Wars‘:

1. The students in the classroom are doing more talking than the teacher. “In today’s classroom, learning should be inquiry based, not teacher directed,” says Dr. Thompson. “A good teacher sets the stage for students to investigate, inquire and create an engaging learning environment. A meaningful, class-wide discussion is a positive sign.”

2. He or she shares ideas with other teachers. “The sharing of ideas actually helps the teacher hone his or her skills and incorporate best practices from other teachers,” Dr. Thompson says. “Just as doctors consult one another on patients, teachers should engage in the same type of dialogue with one another.”

3. The teacher knows the intent of the curriculum. “Learning is not just about what the subject matter is,” says Dr. Thompson, “but [about] what the students are meant to master through the learning process. It is not enough to teach students how to multiply and divide, but to ensure they also understand the skills behind the lesson. If a student can’t relate what they are doing to real-world activities, it often limits the relevance of the lesson — which in turn diminishes engagement and interest.”

4. The teacher recognizes and rewards student effort, even for the small stuff. Says Dr. Thompson, “If students are doing something positive — and every child is capable of something positive — recognize them for their effort. Sometimes all a student needs is a little encouragement. A great teacher focuses on what his or her students are doing, even if they’re just showing up for class — because you never know what learning fears they have. You never know what challenges they are facing outside the classroom. A great teacher shows students that they matter. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.”


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Meet Albert Einstein: The Reality TV Star

October 29, 2012

It’s a shame that children don’t know who Albert Einstein is:

A third of primary school children believe Albert Einstein is a reality TV star, a study has found.

Some 29 per cent think they have recently seen the scientist, who died in 1955, on shows such as The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Many were unable to identify great scientists or their achievements;  more than a third of pupils aged 11  to 14 did not know Isaac Newton discovered gravity, despite it featuring on the school curriculum.

Meanwhile, 6 per cent thought  X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos created penicillin while a million children believe chart-topping rapper Professor Green is a real academic.

Furthermore, a confused 35 per cent of five year olds think London Mayor Boris Johnson discovered gravity with one in five primary school children believing that England and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney is a scientist.

Stephen Hawkins is a hairdresser according to 22 per cent of eight year olds.

I mean no disrespect when I say that I wouldn’t want Stephen Hawkins cutting my hair.

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Ginger Beer Ad is Neither Funny nor Clever

August 2, 2012

I realise that this ad was aiming for controversy, but I can guarantee that kids will be bullied because of it:

An advertising campaign from a New Zealand company telling customers to swap their “ginger children” for ginger beer has been criticised on social media.

A media release from Hakanoa Handmade Ginger Beer yesterday gave “unfortunate” parents with red-haired children the opportunity to exchange them for ginger beer, starting today and running until the end of August.

“Parents with ginger spawn will be able to bring them into The Little Grocer on Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, where they will be able to swap them for a six-pack of ginger beer.”

However, people on the company’s Facebook page said the campaign was offensive.

Ross Ronald said: “Awful – who’s next? Kids with glasses? You’ve totally missed the point and have maybe created the world’s most un-inclusive ad campaign. Humour is best left to those who have some.”

“This is a disgusting but of bullying – towards children – and I hope you have some human rights complaints coming your way,” said William Robertson.

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Learn English with Ricky Gervais

August 1, 2012

I would have loved having Ricky Gervais as my English teacher:

RICKY Gervais is bypassing the TV networks for his new series, Learn English with Ricky Gervais.

The comedian announced on his website that he had just finished editing the pilot for the show, which will be distributed on the web.

He gave few details about the show besides saying he might charge viewers a small fee to cover production costs and that it would be subtitled into as many languages as possible.

The first episode, he said, would be free.

“I’m thinking of making a clean version of the pilot available for download so people can put their own subtitles on it and repost it,” Gervais wrote on his blog. “You can do a Klingon version if you want.”

Web series are swiftly gaining in popularity. Last month Jerry Seinfeld premiered Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which he drives around town in vintage cars, yaks about nothing in particular with fellow comics, then stops off for a coffee.

Gervais is also working on a comedy series for British TV, titled Derek, in which he plays a middle-aged assistant in a retirement home.

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The Most Effective Anti-Smoking Ad Ever Conceived

June 22, 2012



Pure genius! Getting children to ask smokers for a light is a brilliant way to sell the anti-smoking message:

It has been labelled “heartbreaking” and one of the most effective anti-smoking advertisements ever.

The new public service announcement from Thailand shows two small children approaching adults who are smoking and asking them for a light.

Not one of the adults shown in the ad gives the children what they ask for.

Instead the adults — who have no idea they are being set up — begin giving the children earnest lectures on why smoking is so bad for them.

“If you smoke you die faster,” one man tells a little boy.

“Don’t you want to live and play?”

“When you smoke you suffer from lung cancer, emphysema and strokes,” another says.

The children then reveal their trump card, a brochure they hand the adults which reads: “You worry about me. But why not about yourself?”

The video, produced by the agency Ogilvy Thailand on behalf of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, was uploaded to YouTube a week ago and has since gone viral, attracting more than 350,000 views.

The foundation has reported a 40 percent increase in the number of calls it has received about how to stop smoking.

New Sesame Street Movie Announced

June 21, 2012

From the people who taught us that reading and writing can be fun comes a new venture that should please young children worldwide:

Big Bird, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch could be returning to cinemas after studio 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to the show from production company Sesame Workshop.

A new film would be the third big-screen outing in the 43-year history of the iconic US TV series, whose previous guests have included Johnny Cash, David Beckham and Michelle Obama.

The announcement comes off the back of a successful film featuring Jim Henson’s other troupe of puppets, the Muppets, which took over £100 million at the box office earlier this year, and picked up an Academy Award for best song.

It is also reported that Fox have secured Sesame Street writer Joey Mazzarino to pen the script, as well as Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museum and Reel Steel, to produce.

The movie will be the first from Sesame Street, which was originally launched as an educative tool by the US government, since the 1999 film The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. That came 14 years after 1985’s Follow That Bird, starring Chevy Chase.

As of 2008, the show, which is shown in some form across 140 countries, was estimated to have been watched by over 77 million children during its run of 4,300 episodes. The Cookie Monster and friends can boast a collective 8 Grammies, and 118 Emmys between them.

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